President Donald Trump, in Chicago on Monday for the first time as president, slammed Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson for boycotting his speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention at McCormick Place.
“There is one person who is not here today. Where is he? I want to talk to him. In fact, more than anyone else, this person should be here because maybe he could learn something and that’s the superintendent of the Chicago Police, Eddie Johnson,” Trump said to applause from the friendly crowd.
The president also was in town for a political fundraiser expected to bring in $4 million.
Trump has been relentless in his scorching blasts at the city over crime and he didn’t let up in his speech: Compared to Chicago, “Afghanistan is a safe place” Trump said as he hit Chicago for being a sanctuary city and welcoming immigrants, regardless of their legal status.
On Oct. 22 Johnson said he would skip the speech because “the values of the people of Chicago are more important to me than anything that could be said in the speech.”
Trump, noting that said, “I want Eddie Johnson to change his values and change them fast.”
Trump also repeated, with embellishment, an oft-told but never proven story, that he once met a Chicago police officer who told him how to solve crime in the city. “I’m sure we can find him,” Trump said. The White House has never been able to produce the name of the officer and Trump did not request that he come forward.
He also picked Attorney General William Barr to lead a commission to study challenges facing law enforcement officials.
The president even found a way to bring up the impeachment inquiry being conducted by Democrats in the House of Representatives. He did it with a swipe at actor Jussie Smollett, who has been accused of making a false claim about being attacked by Trump supporters in Chicago.
“It’s a scam. Just like impeachment of your president is a scam,” Trump said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, in a tweet, criticized the president for “his insulting, ignorant buffoonery” and voiced support for Johnson.
“Luckily, in this city, we know the truth and we will not let anyone — no matter how high the office — denigrate who we are as a people or our status as a welcoming city.
“Rather than belittle Chicago’s communities with hateful and dishonest rhetoric, he needs to go back to D.C. and face his fate. President Trump knows as much about policing as he does running a fair and transparent government. I stand by the Superintendent for living up to the values of this great city and its residents.”
The Illinois primary is in March, early enough to be a big factor for Democrats and presidential candidates are already organizing here. Frontrunner Joe Biden told the Sun-Times in a statement, “Donald Trump is in Chicago today spewing lies, embracing hate, and dividing the country, but regardless of his attempts at distraction, Illinoisians remember that he has threatened their health care time and time again. Before even stepping foot in the Oval Office, Trump flaunted the reckless idea to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act and strip millions of their health care coverage, including more than five million Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions.”
“Illinoisans shouldn’t have to fear being denied insurance coverage, but Trump has pushed to reverse the Obamacare protections for those with pre-existing conditions and give insurance companies license to discriminate against patients just because they have conditions like cancer, diabetes, or asthma. It’s wrong.
“Here’s the deal: Donald Trump is scared because he knows that stripping health care away from Americans is a losing issue. And it’s why he’s scared that I am going to beat him like a drum next November. That’s why I am proud to commit to doing anything and everything in my power to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act — not tear it down. “
Trump mega fundraising
A Republican official told the White House pool that $4 million will be raised from the lunch, where about 250 guests are expected. The money goes to the Trump Victory fund, a joint fundraising committee benefiting the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee.
According to an invitation obtained by the Sun-Times, the top tab is $100,000. The funder is at Trump International Hotel and Tower, 401 N. Wabash Ave., and protesters are expected to gather across the river from the hotel around 11:30 a.m. Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts co-chairs the fundraising drive for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
Illinois GOP Reps. Rodney Davis, Mike Bost and Darin LaHood, who co-chair the Illinois Trump campaign, were in the audience.
What he’ll do at the police chiefs convention
Trump, a relentless critic of Chicago’s handling of crime, slammed the city in a speech to the police chiefs group at its annual conference last year in Orlando.
Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told the White House pool he expects Trump to “address the issue of crime in Chicago.”
In Orlando, Trump said Chicago has a “terrible shooting wave. We want to straighten it out. We want to straighten it out fast. There’s no reason for what’s going on there.”
A White House official told the Chicago Sun-Times “the president is expected to sign an executive order immediately after his remarks at the IACP establishing a Commission spearheaded by AG Barr tasked with studying the challenges law enforcement face when enforcing the law including drug abuse, homelessness, and mental health. The Commission will also look at ways to better recruit, train, and retain law enforcement officials across the country.”
After Air Force One landed at O’Hare Airport at 9:29 a.m. Trump was headed to Soldier Field via Marine One, a helicopter and touched down at 10 a.m. He entered McCormick Place at 10:11 a.m.
When Trump landed, no elected or appoint officials — neither Republican nor Democrat — greeted him on the tarmac, though there was, according to the pool report, “a crowd behind bike rack barriers, where he had a few minutes of handshakes and pictures.” The only greeter planeside, according to the pool report, was Kevin Graham, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.
His speech before the International Chiefs of Police marks the second year in a row he is addressing the group. Trump speaks at 10:25 a.m. The giant ballroom is already filling up. Outside the room, an exhibit features vintage Chicago police cars marking the different logos through the years.
The Democratic Party of Illinois in a Monday morning statement said it is “is urging residents to participate in a Day of Action today to coincide with President Trump’s visit to Chicago. The state party has been encouraging people who disagree with the president’s hateful rhetoric and divisive actions to find a positive way to counter his negativity.”
“Because undermining the Constitution and endangering the world aren’t enough, Trump has abandoned working families in Illinois and across the country and attacked Chicago along the way,” said Mary Morrissey, executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois. “It’s beyond time to say enough and let the president know if he plans to come to Illinois with hate and divisiveness, we will counter it with positivity and action. And in 2020, we will send him packing.”
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